Port Whitby neighbourhood fed up with traffic and excessive noise in their waterfront community

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Published December 1, 2022 at 3:25 pm

Residents in five small blocks below Victoria Street on Whitby’s waterfront are ready for a fight with Whitby and Durham Region’s new Councils over long-standing traffic, noise and speeding issues that have plagued their little community for nearly a decade.

The group have sent a petition to both councils and to Durham Regional Police to take “immediate, robust, and necessary” measures to stop the speeding, aggressive driving and “excessive and unreasonable noise” from illegally modified mufflers and exhaust systems on vehicles that has increasingly been disturbing their sleep, shattering their peace and generally jeopardizing their safety and well-being.

“We’ve been asking Council to implement proper traffic control and calming measures here in Port Whitby since 2014,” said Davina Jones, one of a small group of Port Whitby residents who are leading the initiative. “I have 26 pages of Excel spreadsheets summarizing my correspondence with various Councils and staff over the years. Up to this point, no real constructive action has been taken.”

Nearly 200 people signed the petition in a door-to-door campaign performed earlier this year and Jones said people were “practically grabbing the petitions” to sign them. “People here have had enough.”

Whitby and Durham councils have received the petitions but the group hasn’t heard back from either, though Jones said she is meeting this week with her local councillor to discuss the problem.

“We haven’t been bothering the councillors because they just had an election, but we were told they were coming around on the issue,” she added. “It’s been eight years so it’s very frustrating.”

The tipping point came this year when the noise from cars and motorcycles escalated to a “constant assault,” not on just the main thoroughfares, but throughout the neighborhood, said Wenda Abel, another of the lead petitioners. “A direct email to the Chief of Police and a couple of brief appearances by DRPS cruisers made no difference.”

The group hasn’t heard from Durham Police since then.

“We need councils and staff to listen to residents, make a comprehensive plan and put the traffic routing, management, and calming measures in place to make our community safe and restore our quality of life.”

The petition focuses on restoring peace and safety to the Port Whitby community as well as preparing for additional increases in resident and visitor traffic as development and population continue to expand. The petition also calls on the Councils to join forces with other Durham Region municipalities and Durham Regional Police Services to take joint, region-wide action on the growing problems and to urge the provincial government to provide more resources, enact legislation to support the enforcement of laws against speeding and aggressive driving and to stop the sale, installation and use of illegal modified muffler and exhaust systems everywhere.

Jones said the group knows increased traffic is inevitable in a waterfront neighbourhood and is fine with more visitors coming down to enjoy the lake. “We want that but the problem is there’s no traffic calming devices. It’s really not that difficult a problem to fix.”

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